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RECAP: Chad Daybell Jury Selection Day 1

Posted at 10:51 AM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 13:54:44-04

BOISE, Idaho — Day one of jury selection for the State of Idaho vs. Chad Daybell has officially begun.

  • Jury selection is expected to last two weeks
  • Potential jurors answer questions surrounding bias and hardships
  • Some expressed concerns over those hardships and were dismissed

6:03 pm: The courtroom session adjourns with 16 of the 50 needed jurors advancing. The court will resume with jury questionnaire reviews on April 2.

6:00 pm: The juror indicates that they have doubts regarding the way the court has handled a case in the past. Wood moves to strike the juror, which Boyce grants, finishing the group 2 juror reviews.

5:56 pm: The final group 2 juror indicates that they followed the Lori Vallow trial in the news and that they believe the media has portrayed Daybell as guilty. The juror believes that this will not impact their final verdict.

5:54 pm: Judge Boyce indicates that the next juror is the final member of the second group of jurors.

5:52 pm: The next juror in the courtroom advances after brief questioning about the death penalty. Now, 16 of the 50 needed jurors have advanced.

5:44 pm: Another juror advances with no objections from the state or the defense. 15 of the 50 needed jurors have been selected to advance.

5:36 pm: The next juror is questioned about social media posts they saw breaking the news that Lori Vallow was found guilty in her trial, though the juror states that this will not influence their decision-making process. The juror advances with no objections.

5:27 pm: Another juror is approved after being questioned about the death penalty. Now 13 of the 50 needed jurors have been selected.

5:20 pm: The next juror states that if the only choice in this case was the death penalty, they could not make that decision. The juror continued, explaining that under no condition would they sentence a person to death. The state moves to dismiss the juror and Judge Boyce grants the dismissal.

5:00 pm: The juror indicates that they do not agree with the death penalty, but says they can put aside those views for the duration of the trial. The juror advances as another is brought into the courtroom.

4:54 pm: The next juror indicates that they have learned some information about the case from local news and TV programs. The juror believes that Chad Daybell was involved in the crimes but indicates that they will be able to set their beliefs aside and use only information from the trial to make a decision.

4:52 pm: Another juror advances after being questioned about the death penalty and the schedule. This makes 11 of the 50 needed jurors.

4:40 pm: A second juror is being questioned regarding their survey questions concerning the death penalty, which they left blank. The juror supports the death penalty but emphasizes that it is a "tough issue" and that they do not support it in all murder cases. The juror indicates that they have seen a TV special on the case but that they believe it will not impact their judgment during the trial. The juror is approved as the 10th of 50 needed jurors.

4:31 pm: The juror states that they believe Daybell is guilty unless evidence shows otherwise. Prior motions to dismiss them from the case, which Judge Boyce Grants. This leaves 9 potential jurors in group 2.

4:28 pm: The first juror brought in says they have seen news reports related to the trial, and though they know that not all reporting is accurate, they feel that Daybell is guilty.

4:23 pm: Prior finishes questioning the jurors, now the individual voir dire will be held. Jurors have been sent out of the courtroom and will be brought in for questioning individually.

4:06 pm: Blake finishes her questions and Prior begins to question the potential jurors.

3:58 pm: Prosecuting attorney Lindsey Blake now questions the jurors, emphasizing the requirement for jurors to follow the instructions and format of the trial as closely as possible. She asks if any of the jurors would have trouble following the instructions even if they thought there was a better way to format the process. The 10 potential jurors agree.

3:50 pm: Wood asks jurors if they are prepared to view autopsy photos of children and a mother. One juror asks to be excused due to worries that the graphic information will scar them and render an impartial verdict. Wood motions to excuse this juror. Prior questions the juror, asking if they will immediately assign the disturbing photos to Daybell or if they will be able to look at them purely as evidence. The juror says they will view it as evidence but indicates concern about the effect the images and subject matter could have on them. Judge Boyce dismisses this juror, leaving 10 potential jurors in the second group.

3:44 pm: Prosecuting attorney Rob Wood addresses the jurors, asking if they can rely on only what is presented to them in court and avoid content related to the case.

3:40 pm: Another juror is dismissed by Judge Boyce due to work schedule conflicts not permitting them to give the case their full attention.

3:33 pm: With 12 potential jurors remaining in the second group, Judge Boyce asks if they have heard about the case in detail. Several jurors indicate that they have.

3:31 pm: Another juror is dismissed due to childcare concerns.

3:26 pm: Two additional jurors are dismissed by Judge Boyce due to scheduling conflicts.

3:22 pm: The first juror from the second group was dismissed by Judge Boyce due to work schedule conflicts.

3:18 pm: Judge Boyce is laying out the expectations and responsibilities for jurors to the second group of potential jurors, emphasizing the 8-10 week expected trial duration.

3:10 pm: After addressing the objections by Blake, Judge Boyce invites the next panel of 16 potential jurors into the courtroom. Judge Boyce says he intends to get through this second group of jurors by the end of the day.

3:04 pm: Judge Boyce addresses two objections by Blake, who claims Prior continuously referred to the "four prosecutors" and himself as the lone defense attorney and that he used language indicating that he believes his client is not guilty which, according to Blake, is not in the scope of voir dire. Judge Boyce says he will consider the issue if the verbiage is used repeatedly to garner sympathy for Daybell.

3:01 pm: The jury selection process has resumed following a lunch recess. So far, 9 of the 50 needed jurors have been approved.

RELATED | Chad Daybell jury selection begins

11:28 am: The voir dire process has begun in the courtroom. During this process, jurors are examined individually by the counsel and judge.

11:36 am: One more juror was dismissed due to conflicts with his employer's policy.

12:16 pm: Another juror is excused due to an upcoming trip. Before being excused, the juror indicated on their questionnaire that they believed a defendant is probably guilty if they don't take the witness stand and that they should testify on their own behalf.

12:19 pm: A juror states that he believes that the defendant is guilty and that he had followed the media in this case. Prior moves to strike the juror for cause, which Judge Boyce grants.

12:30 pm: During the questioning of a juror, it was brought up that they had indicated that Daybell "probably did it." The juror says that it was not a deep conviction but that they were being "brutally honest" as they were asked to be by prosecuting attorney Rob Wood earlier in the process.

12:53 pm: Prior moves to dismiss a juror who has a scheduling conflict with an upcoming fundraiser. The juror has previously indicated that they read articles about the case and concluded that Daybell was guilty, though they believe they could set their feelings aside for the trial. The juror was dismissed with no objection by the prosecution.

1:09 pm: Prior has moved to strike a juror who indicated support for the death penalty, though the juror clarified that this would not impact how they decide on the case. Blake objects to Prior's motion to strike the juror and Judge Boyce overrules the motion, allowing the juror to remain on the trial.

1:23 pm: The voir dire process continues as 6 of the 50 needed jurors have now been selected.

1:36 pm: Judge Boyce explained that there were private items listed on one juror's questionnaire and allowed for them to continue their questioning in private.

1:47 pm: Another juror who indicated support for the death penalty was questioned by Prior, who asked that they be removed for cause. The juror says they don't believe the death penalty is appropriate in every case and that they would base their decisions on the details of the case. Judge Boyce overrules the motion and the juror advances.

1:59 pm: The public was asked to leave the courtroom and the livestream was paused as additional topics were discussed.

2:09 pm: The court session resumes with 9 of the jurors in the courtroom. The 9 jurors were approved by both the state and the defense. The questioning process will continue until the 50 needed jurors are selected.

2:12 pm: Judge Boyce reminds the 9 approved jurors to follow the guidelines of the case and avoid consuming content related to the trial before dismissing the court for a lunch recess.

11:17 am: The jury selection process is resuming following a recess. Prior began by asking jurors if they had seen anything on social media about the case, a few responded that they had.

Prior asks the jurors if they understand that they are tasked with reviewing the entirety of the evidence presented before they render their verdict. All of the jurors agree.

Prior ends his questioning. Judge Boyce clarifies a scheduling issue with one of the jurors before initiating individual voir dire, the preliminary process by which jurors are examined.

John Prior, Daybell's lone Attorney, began questioning jurors after the prosecution. Prior has never worked a death penalty case, whereas Lori Vallow Daybell had two death-penalty-qualified attorneys at her side in court.

Prior asks jurors if they know what bias means and asks them if they agree that witnesses can be influenced and coerced into saying things. The jurors agree.

Prior asks if jurors believe that law enforcement could have their views influenced, and a few jurors disagree. Prior continues, asking if the jurors agree that the role of an officer is to investigate the facts, which the jurors agree to.

It was discussed that should the jury find Daybell guilty, they would be sequestered until they determined whether he would receive the death penalty or life in prison.

Prosecuting attorney Lindsey Blake asks to approach the judge. A 15/20 minute recess is called following the sidebar.

Judge Boyce informed jurors that they should not be offended if they are released, and that the trial will require them to serve as a juror for an expected 8-10 weeks.

During the questioning by the prosecution, 3 jurors were excused for reasons ranging from work schedule conflicts to familial hardship.

Judge Boyce stressed that there will be autopsy photos that they may find difficult to look at.